On the last day of school before spring break I got called in for the afternoon, and the last block was a Social Justice 12 class. The lesson was about homophobia and teaching tolerance. When I arrived and looked over the lesson plan I was a little nervous because there was a lot of class discussion and no seatwork, which is not always easy for a TOC. Thankfully I had some time to prep...
After I took attendance and the students were settled down and finished with their, "Yah! A sub!" routine lol, I handed out the story they were to read, A Rose for Charlie. It's a terribly sad story about a young man who had to deal with severe intolerance and homophobia throughout his entire life, and it has a very sad ending. It took the students a few minutes to settle down (A TOC and the last block before their 2 week spring break ;)), but once they started reading the story you could hear a pin drop.
After the students were done reading I had them arrange themselves into groups. Their first task was to take some notes regarding the intolerance shown towards the main character, Charlie, and the different levels of prejudice seen in the story, and then to discuss in their group. Once they had some time to discuss within their groups, I asked each group to share their most important points as I wrote them all up on the whiteboard. Next they were to discuss the political impact of the criminals going without punishment, and after that, the different ways homophobia can be expressed in our society. Lastly they were to devise a list of ways we can try to stop the homophobia we see in our society.
With each section I had them discuss in their small groups then went around the room asking each group for contributions, and wrote them all up on the whiteboard. They came up with some great thoughts! I took a picture of the notes on the board with my iphone and emailed them to the teacher. Gotta love technology! This is what they came up with for ways we can stop homophobia in our society:
- Stop saying offensive words.
- Don't assume someone is gay based on looks or actions.
- Mind your own business.
- Stand up for what you think is right.
- Teach children tolerance at a young age and that it's ok to be different.
- Punish people for bullying/gay bashing.
- Accept people for who they are.
- Stop making offensive jokes.
- Stick up for people.
- Don't laugh at offensive jokes.
I was very pleased with the great discussions and how well the lesson went with such a touchy subject, especially considering it was the last block before spring break. It certainly doesn't always happen that way as I know from the last block before Easter break with some very hyper grade 8 boys! But I'll save that for another post... ;o)